‘NYT’ does not own the Karmi house, former bureau chief stresses

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Yesterday I published a statement from the author Ghada Karmi about the pain of visiting her family’s former house in Jerusalem in 2005 at the invitation of then-New-York-Times bureau chief Steve Erlanger. The Times owns an apartment built atop that house. I asked Erlanger, now the newspaper’s London bureau chief, if he wanted to respond to the account. He wrote:

You’re asking me to react to something you’ve already published, which is fine.

I would only point out that I contacted Ghada after I read her memoir [In Search of Fatima, 2002], which ended with her inability to get inside the house of her childhood, and I wanted to help her do that. It was not meant as a polemical gesture but a human one for a writer I admired.

I also want to emphasize that the New York Times does not own the Karmi house and New York Times correspondents do not live in the Karmi house. An Israeli family does.

Ghada herself notes that we were living “in an apartment which had been built on the top of our house. Our house was a villa on one floor. They don’t have two stories. But this had been built at some time. The New York Times bought it in like 1983. And its bureau chiefs have been living in it ever since.”

Sometime in the 1960’s, I believe, certainly years after Palestinians fled or were pushed out of the area, someone built a two-story dwelling on the roof of the single-story Karmi house, which is legally separate from it and shares no living space with the Karmi house.

I believe Tom Friedman bought it for the NY Times in the early 1980’s, perhaps 1983.

We’ve been through this before, but your own article implies that the New York Times and its reporters occupy the same house in which Ghada grew up. That is not true.

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‘We’ve been through this before, but your own article implies that the New York Times and its reporters occupy the same house in which Ghada grew up. That is not true.’

A distinction without a difference? ‘We don’t occupy the house – just the apartment above built after her family was exiled’. Oh – my mistake, obviously the two ideas are totally separate.

To summarize: – The NYT owns and occupies an apartment built on top of the occupied family home of Palestinians driven out of Occupied Jerusalem by the Terrorism and Occupation Forces of Israel. – A “nice Israeli family” occupies the Palestinian woman’s family home in Occupied Jerusalem. – Steve thought it would be a great idea to get the Palestinian woman back into her occupied family home in Occupied Jerusalem as a prop for a… Read more »

The original article (and others I’ve read) was entirely clear. He is deliberately missing the point. As the Zionists always say, using various words in a futile effort to avoid the obvious, “it’s complicated.”

It may well be that neither the nice family below nor the NYT in the apartment above fully own the property as far as Israel is concerned. If the home had been confiscated by the ILA, they would be prevented from giving or selling the property to a non-Jew even if they wanted. It is worth noting that, at some point, one of the Jewish owners of the property managed to build a two story… Read more »